Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Cincinnati Woman Charged with Disabled Son's Murder

Update Jan 4, 2008, from the Cincinnati Enquirer

MOUNT WASHINGTON – Cynthia A. Standifer, 55, the mother of Rasheed Michael Standifer, 25, who was developmentally disabled, was charged Thursday with murder in his death.

Michael Standifer was found dead inside his mother’s Wayside Court home Wednesday, and Cynthia Standifer was taken to University Hospital suffering an apparent overdose.

Cincinnati Police said Thursday their investigation revealed the mother caused her son’s death then attempted suicide.

Court records showed Cynthia Standifer admitted her role to homicide investigators.

Michael Standifer’s cause of death will be determined pending the results of an autopsy by the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office.

Police said little else on Thursday about their investigation, but neighbors spoke fondly of the man they knew as Michael.

“Everyone knew him as Michael,” said neighbor Bill Huber. “He would always bark out his first name real forcefully.”

Huber believed Standifer was visiting his mother for the holidays, which he did frequently.

“He lived in a group home,” Huber said. “His caregiver from the home found Michael and his mom and called police.”

Cynthia Standifer lived in her Mount Washington home since 2001. She regularly participated in neighborhood block parties. So did her son.

“Never heard them fight,” said neighbor Nicholas Sanderfer. “Never saw them argue. They always got along real well.”

Huber fondly remembered those block parties and the times in the summer when “Michael came over to my house and sat on the porch. He would talk with me and my wife,” Huber added.

“And he would sing. He loved to sing.”

And play basketball.

“He’d play with the neighborhood kids at the hoop in front of his house,” said Nicholas Sanderfer’s wife, Laura.

She described Michael as “very quiet. He was obviously mentally challenged. But he got along great with all the kids on the street. He was like a child in a man’s body.”

Jim Myres coached Standifer when he played for the Newtown Kickers of the Cincinnati TOP (The Outreach Program) Soccer league.

“Michael had a beautiful voice,” Myres said. “He sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ for one of our soccer tournaments.”

Ten years later, Myres remained struck by the quality of Standifer’s voice.

“A lot of these kids (sic) think they can sing,” he said. “But he really could.”

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